The Daily Tar Heel

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Sunday May 28th

Pseudo Punksters Reach Horrendous Low Point


Lit's biggest hit had fresh-faced, would-be punks singing along to "please tell me whyeiiieiii" for months, thanks to 1999's "My Own Worst Enemy."

The band has just released another album, and listeners with any taste should throw that chorus back at the group.

Please, tell me why.

After the baffling success of its previous LP, A Place in the Sun, Lit sticks to the same bouncy melodies in their second attempt, Atomic. An uncomfortable mix of pop and heavy metal, Lit's sound doesn't stand out as unique because it doesn't conform -- it just fails in both fields.

Much like the music, little has changed about the band. Still a restless gang of wannabe romantics, nothing of any real importance is uncovered or even explored during the entire album.

It seems as if the band simply writes and performs whatever will please the teenage pop fans that want to be hardcore. A. Jay Popoff, lead vocalist, whines about a seemingly endless parade of love "tragedies," never diverging from the formula that granted him his 15 seconds of fame.

The album has no diversity, being merely a poorly organized pile of shallow, loveless love songs.

Each lending his own listless drone to the lost melodies, no member of Lit boasts particularly strong musical talents. Guitarist Jeremy Popoff relies more on his distortion pedals than his abilities, cranking out monotonous chords that vary only in their amount of ugly amalgamation of noise.

Hidden in the background, drummer Allen Shellenberger throws in random crashes and thumps, establishing chaos instead of rhythm.

One of the only redeeming factors is Kevin Baldes, a bassist who delivers some truly powerful riffs in "Live For This." His ability glows moderately in the background, trying to be recognized despite the otherwise struggling noise. Unfortunately, Baldes is drowned out by the distracting, nasal whine of A. Jay Popoff, and his lack of versatility as a singer is only outdone by his weakness as a writer.

The superficial and often silly lyrics, ("I got a lot of good drugs/But I don't know how to use 'em/So I threw 'em in the trash/And now my dogs are high as hell,") make no sense and dwell on empty issues. "Sunny Weather" and "Everything's Cool" particularly have nothing to say yet still drag on for several minutes.

Surprisingly, a few choice tracks could be worth the time they take to play, but not for the price of the LP. The blossoming "She Comes" stumbles upon touching lyrics and a rolling beat while "Lipstick and Bruises" boasts clever moments and a catchy tune that isn't just annoying.

Trying to recreate the sounds that garnered them fame in the pop-y teenage circles, Lit has not changed in the least. Atomic proves that Lit is just another one-hit wonder band that has stayed too long at the fair. They are their own worst enemy.

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